Final Fantasy 7 Remake impressed the Twinfinite crew last night at its reveal, and fortunately we didn’t have to wait long to see if what was shown off at the Square Enix press conference played as good as it looked.
I’ll have my full impressions of my hands-on experience out shortly. But in the mean time, allow me to share every little detail I could glean from my behind closed doors walkthrough of the core aspects of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and my hands-on demo in a quicker, easy to read bullet point form.
Let’s start with some fast facts about the gameplay and then what we were able to learn about the story and the future plans for the game.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Gameplay Details
- As we already know, attacks in Final Fantasy 7 Remake build up ATB. This happens quite quickly provided you’re not being interrupted by enemy fire. You can spend a lot of time in Tactical mode if you want to which is accessed by tapping X and will practically freeze time.
- Even if you don’t have ATB, you can still enter Tactical mode for a breather and to plan out your next move.
- If you prefer action games, you can access shortcuts of key moves by pressing and holding L1 and hitting the button of the move you want to do.
- Spells such as Thunder and Cure cost both MP and ATB bars to use. If you run out of MP you’ll need an Ether to restore it mid battle.
- Using items during battle costs ATB as well but you can enter tactical mode and use items at will outside of battle without needing any ATB charges.
- You can switch to a party member at any time by pressing Up or Down on the directional pad.
- You can also issue commands to your allies on the fly by pressing L2 or R2.
- You can hold L3 to sprint which should make getting around quicker than the original.
- Gameplay is quite dynamic and it felt that way especially in the boss fight versus the scorpion walker. You’ll need to exploit weaknesses and find weak spots (such as legs or the rear) on the enemy in real time. We’ll go more in-depth with that in our full preview.
- Some enemy attacks will restrain characters and you’ll need to rescue them by attacking the enemy with someone else. If you don’t, they will take a lot of damage.
- You can press R3 to lock onto targets and press R1 to quickly switch your focus. It was pretty easy to control still without it. It feels a lot more natural and less clunky than Final Fantasy XV (a fear that some fans had early on in Final Fantasy 7: Remake’s life). Obviously locking on helps when you need to hit something specific though.
- In combat you’ll want to frequently guard and evade to protect yourself. You hold R1 to guard and press Circle to evade.
- Evading will (obviously) negate damage provided you, you know, evade it. Guarding will reduce damage and build up your ATB.
- Taking damage, in general, builds up your Limit bar. When fully charged you can unleash a powerful attack. For the demo, Cloud had access to Cross-slash which did a crap ton of damage.
- Cloud and Barret played very differently in combat as Cloud literally can’t hit certain enemies with his sword. There were times where you wanted to control Barret to quickly take down out of reach enemies or utilize specific spells like Thunder. Cloud though is better for taking down enemies in melee range and when you want to use his powerful abilities.
- Skilled Final Fantasy 7 Remake players will be able to master the menus to quickly swap between the party members to min-max their potential.
- Barret more or less can go into auto-attack mode by just holding down Square which will let loose consistent fire that ends with a strong final burst which has a satisfying oomph to it.
- Both Cloud and Barret could cast basic Cure spells. Cloud could cast Fire and Blizzard while Barret had Thunder.
- Cloud has sword strike attacks that are designed for area damage (Triple Slash), stagger damage (Focused Thrust), and pure total damage (Braver).
- Barret can use his ATB to use Steelskin, a party-wide defensive move, and expend all his AP (2 bars) to use powerful ranged abilities.
- Party members in Final Fantasy 7 Remake will have unique and powerful abilities and moves that can be accessed by pressing Triangle. Barret can charge up a powerful attack that will deal damage and instantly fill his ATB. Cloud can switch between a swift “Operator” style or a slow and powerful “Punisher” style at a whim.
- Dealing large amounts of damage via a weakness or otherwise will hinder certain enemies and fill up a Focus Bar which when full opens up the ability to stagger an enemy (FF13 style). When in a staggered state, you’ll deal way more damage with is the ideal time to let powerful spells and abilities like Braver loose.
- Every kill in battle will earn you Gil, EXP points and sometimes items.